City recommits to overhaul of plagued emergency 911 system

911 emergency system
The city originally set out to redesign the 911 system in 2004 two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, and was slated near completion around 2015. Unchecked, Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters said the system “suffered from significant mismanagement which at times was nothing short of governmental malpractice.”
Credit: Alvaro Millan/Flickr

The city’s beleaguered emergency 911 system relied too heavily on outside consultants and was too divided between agencies that failed to communicate, administration officials said Wednesday.

In May, the de Blasio administration announce it put an upgrade to its Emergency Communications Transformation Program on hold after doubts were cast on its ballooning expenses while complaints of dispatch delays increased.

The city originally set out to redesign the 911 system in 2004 two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, and was slated near completion around 2015. Unchecked, Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters said the system “suffered from significant mismanagement which at times was nothing short of governmental malpractice.”

The new recommendations laid out by the administration will delay plans till at least 2018 with an added cost of $100 million.

In all the plan is expected to cost $2.03 billion.

“We have identified the problems that have long plagued the ECTP,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, “and we’re committed to taking the necessary corrective action to ensure the program is brought back on track, within our means and ahead of schedule.”

After the two-month review, officials said the 911 program would be largely overseen by Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest.

City staff would replace consultants whenever appropriate to cut costs, and the different agencies involved — including the police and fire departments — would better cooperate with each other.

“It is critically important that we get this right, and the assessment team led by DoITT Commissioner Roest has mapped out the way forward,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria



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